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GLOSSARY OF KEY BIBLE WORDS AND CONCEPTS

Here's a few words you'll likely encounter in this study guide and in your Bible or Christian readings.  This section is meant to provide a short non-exhaustive definition upon which to build greater understanding with further expanded study.  You'll probably want to refer back to this list while reading the Bible.  For additional word studies, you may consult our Biblical and Theological Dictionary.

 

Glossary of Key Biblical Words and Concepts

 

Apostle means "messenger", an original follower personally taught by Jesus
Atonement the act performed by Jesus that makes possible our salvation and reconciliation with God
Baptism An immersion or sprinkling of water which identifies a believer with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection
Believer one who has true saving faith in Jesus, thus is saved and possesses Eternal Life
Bible from the Greek biblos meaning "book".  the Holy book of Christians and Jews, recorded by Holy men of God as inspired by the Holy Spirit
Biblical Authority the right, by virtue of the author’s identity and position, to command our respect and obedience.  Its accuracy has been established and consequentially can be totally trusted.
Christ title of Jesus meaning "Messiah" or "annointed one"
Christians followers and believers in Christ as his or her personal Savior
Covenant an agreement between God and man, initiated by God, and containing blessing for obedience and curses for disobedience
Church two meanings - a local group of worshipers;  the Biblical meaning is the entire number of true believers (past, present and future)
Cross instrument of execution used by the Romans in Jesus’ day; see Crucify
Crucify method by which Jesus died for our sins; see Crucify
Death used in three contexts - the end of our physical life on earth; our spiritual state prior to salvation; eternal separation of the lost from God due to sin (sometimes referred to as the second death)
Disciple a student or follower of Jesus
Doctrine set of beliefs that define and are taught by a religious system
Eternal Life state of a believer, both now (in the sense that we are saved) and future
Exegesis study to determine the original context and meaning of a scripture
Faith strong belief, trust or confidence given to us by God’s grace
Gentiles those not of the natural Jewish race
Glorification last stage of Salvation for believers, which includes eternal life in heaven, sharing in Christ's heavenly glory, seeing God face to face, and worshiping Him forever
God the supreme being, creator of the universe;  Christians worship a triune God - God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit; see "Trinity"
Gospel the central Christian message of the "Good News" of God's saving activity through the life, ministry, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus the Christ.  Gospel also refers to the first four books of the NT (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), and to a distinct literary genre.
Grace unmerited favor and benefit from God
Heaven dwelling place of God;  the Bible does not reveal a location
Hell place of eternal punishment for the lost, eternally separated from God
Heresy false or incomplete teaching
Hermeneutics the study of how we study the Bible; also how the Scriptures relate to our own days
Holy sacred, spiritually pure; set apart for special service to God
Holy Spirit third person of the Godhead (Trinity), Author of the Bible, indwells, empowers and gifts the believer for service in the Church.  As the divine helper, assistant, counselor and instructor, His work is to reveal Christ, convict of sin, lead to repentance, and to comfort, strengthen, guide and sanctify believers for godly living.
Incarnation act of Jesus taking on a human nature at His birth
Inerrancy the principle that the Bible’s original manuscripts, when properly interpreted, is without error in all that it affirms, to the degree of accuracy intended
Inspiration the divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon the human writers which resulted in the Inerrancy of the Bible
Jesus the God-Man, fully human, fully God; second person of the Trinity; son of God; our Savior, the Messiah, the final judge
Jews God’s chosen people, natural descendants of Israel
Justification act by the Grace of God declaring a believer "not guilty" and imputing the righteousness of Christ to the believer through our faith in the work of Christ on the Cross
Knowledge the understanding of a subject, along with the ability to use it for a specific purpose;  true Biblical knowledge takes root in the heart as well as the mind
Mercy act of God forgiving us rather than administering the justice that we deserve
Messiah same as "Christ"; Messiah comes from the Hebrew (language of the OT), Christ from the Greek (language of the NT)
Miracle supernatural event; usually unexplainable by the laws of nature
Mystery a term used by Paul to denote a truth of God's eternal purpose, not accessible by human reason alone, which was obscure in the OT but has now been made clear by Christ and the Holy Spirit
Omnipotence attribute of triune God alone; has all power over creation, can do all things but does nothing contrary with his Holy Nature
Omnipresence attribute of triune God alone; all present, not bound by time or space
Omniscience attribute of triune God alone; having all knowledge
Original Sin the original sin of Adam (Gen 3) and its effect on his descendants; see Sin
Parable a short illustrative story that teaches a moral or religious lesson
Passover annual Jewish holiday celebrating their escape from Egyptian bondage and sparing of their first-born children when the Angel of Death "passed over" the Hebrew homes and killed the first-born children in the Egyptian homes (Ex 12)
Pentecost celebration of the fiftieth day after Passover; arrival of the Holy Spirit at the birth of the Church (Acts 2)
Prayer communication with God; man offers up praise, requests, confessions, thanksgiving etc and should be attentive to His response
Rapture the snatching away of believers at some point before, during, or at the second coming of Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 4:16-17)
Reconciliation act by which God, by the work of Jesus, "makes peace" with us, no longer counting our sins against us (2Cor 5:19-21)
Regeneration act by which God the Holy Spirit creates a change in our spiritual nature; a new birth
Religion a system of man’s beliefs in an attempt to understand spiritual things; can be true or false
Repentance a genuine sorrow of man for his sin; involves both a change of mind and direction
Righteous morally pure and just
Salvation saving of a person’s soul from the righteous judgment of God; Salvation involves Regeneration, Repentance, Justification, Sanctification and Glorification
Sanctification ongoing process by which believers are made more holy and pure (more like Jesus)
Scripture the Bible
Sin the violation of God’s law or will by thought, deed, word or omission
Sovereignty God’s right and ability to exercise power and control over His creation.
Testament a contract (covenant) made between two parties and ratified by certain actions
Theology the study of God and religious doctrine
Trinity the unity of God the father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit into one Godhead; They are three distinct co-eternal persons with one indivisible divine nature
Wisdom the ability to correctly use knowledge to discern truth and exercise good judgment
Worldview presuppositions that influence your outlook on life;  a Biblical worldview filters all incoming data through the Word of God

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